How to Build an Online Course That Sells

Whether you have a budding online business or are a newbie looking to share knowledge on a particular subject to the masses, teaching an online course is the perfect way to accomplish your objective.


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With the emergence of teaching platforms all over the Web, you have the opportunity to cash in on your skill s and generate a handsome sum of passive income.

Not sure where to start? Here are some useful resources and tips to get you up and running in a flash:

Market Your Courses

Get Social

Don’t wait until the day of the launch to start posting about your course. Once you develop a name and framework, start promoting right away on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Consider asking fans to share your status updates and tweets for a chance to win a freebie or enrollment discount.

Mailing List

If you don’t have one, head over to AWeber or MailChimp to sign-up and begin encouraging followers to subscribe. You can also add existing customers to the mix and promote your course in the body of the email blast.


It’s the best form of free advertisement for your business. If you’re just starting out, draft up an email outlining the benefits and contents of your course and distribute it to a host of family members and friends to get the buzz going.

Guest Post

If you’re a freelance writer or you actively run a blog, reach out to other influential bloggers in your sphere of influence and ask to contribute a post in exchange for a byline with you bio and link to the course’s landing page.

Secure Teaching Platforms


Picture earning $8,500 in the first month selling what you already know online? That’s what Len Smith did using Udemy, the world’s largest online learning platform. It boasts an impressive platform of 5 million students from 190 countries worldwide. You don’t have to be a world-renowned expert in your industry to sign-up and there are a plethora of design tools to help you get started. Udemy also takes care of payment processing in-house and customer support is available around the clock. Revenues are split 50:50 unless you promote the course on your own.


Prefer to teach live courses? GoToMeeting offers a free plan with screen sharing, HP video and VoIP audio capabilities. However, if you intend to host more than three students at a time, you’ll have to upgrade to the $39 or $56 monthly plan, which allow you to teach up to 25 or 100 students, respectively.

Manage Invoices and Collect Money

If you select a teaching platform without payment processing and accounting capabilities, Chargify is definitely an option worth considering. This subscription and recurring billing management system offers a host of benefits, including:

  • Seamless user registration.
  • Subscriber management solutions.
  • Effortless customer communication capabilities.
  • Streamlined billing and payment processing.
  • Customized reports.

You also have the ability to test the program out free of charge before subscribing to a monthly plan, ranging from $65 to $459 per month.

Other Helpful Tips

Test it Out

Consider offering your course free of charge to a set number of individuals to ensure it is functioning properly on the platform. Doing so also enables you to receive candid feedback and collect testimonials prior to the official launch.

Early Bird Registration

The faster the course fills up, the less time spent promoting, which frees up time to work on subsequent offerings. Plus, those who are really interested won’t miss out on a chance to save money.

Bundle Deals

If you have more than one course to offer, bundle up and apply a slight discount to boost profit margins.

Affiliate Marketing

Others will get a share of the revenue pie, but the relationship results in more sales for you. Not comfortable with the idea, a refer-a-friend discount will suffice.


Going forward, all correspondence distributed from your desk should include a link to the course’s landing page.

Making the decision to teach what you already know online will not only boost your bottom line, but generate increased exposure for your brand.

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This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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1 Comment:

  • By Jacob Setoh 25 Jan 2015

    Great infomation here, as a designer we could all be doing so much more, using our experiences to be teaching others in the field, sharing experiences and getting that incentive back for our knowledge. I do how ever have a question, for Ebook publishing what is the best platform to start out on, and build a list to get customers coming back for more?